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  • A Biographical Dictionary of the Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Zac Richardson
Skipper, John C. A Biographical Dictionary of the Baseball Hall of Fame, 2nd ed. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2008. Pp. vi+353. Eighty-two black-and-white photographs, bibliography, and index. $75.00 cb.

In these days of Wikipedia,, and the Kindle reader, it is, for the traditionalist, both nostalgic and encouraging to still see something like an honest-to-goodness book version of A Biographical Dictionary of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Moreover, this is a second edition and, given that during the eight-year span between printings more than fifty new biographies required cataloging, this is, clearly, a title that lends itself to future editions as well. To the sharp eye, this ratio may appear a bit steep; this is because along with information on players, managers, umpires, and executives, Skipper has included Ford C. Frick and J.G. Taylor Spink Award-winning broadcasters and writers respectively—for whom this honor is certainly a career highlight, and under the assumption that most observers believe these individuals to be enshrined, anyway (though there is technically not such a wing in the Hall of Fame). Regardless (with some give-or-take), this pattern and pace of expansion at Cooperstown will continue henceforth—even as voters begin to zero in on the exploits of baseball’s so-called steroid era—making future editions of the Biographical Dictionaryevery bit as relevant and necessary as the current and prior.

To be clear, this is a work primarily of data, rather than of comparison or judgment. Accordingly, pertinent agate-type information is included for each individual—such as dates and places of birth, death, major league debut, and Hall of Fame induction—as well as brief though comprehensive biographical entries (ranging from nicknames and their meanings to career highlights to significant life events), and of course career statistics minus the non-players. Thoughts on the relative or otherwise merit of one’s inclusion (or those on the outside looking in), however, are not the purpose of this collection—save for a brief mention by Skipper in the introduction. While footnotes and/or endnotes are absent, slightly handicapping the work as a true research reference, the Dictionaryconcludes with a suitable bibliography and is extensively indexed as well. In sum, this is a collection by and for the baseball aficionado and should see continued, periodical printings—as new information and inductees merit documentation and as a tonic for an audience seeking a handsome and tactile compendium of who’s who in America’s game. [End Page 346]

Zac Richardson
Ohio State University


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